Long Hill Estate, Beverly, MA, www.carolineallen.com
I’ve just bought and studied NewNovelist 2.0, by Creativity Software. You can use the software to help you write your existing novel, or even, according to the reviews, write the novel you’ve always wanted to write.
I cannot recommend it enough. It’s blowing my mind and blowing my writing open. Run, do not walk to buy it. (I got mine on ebay for about $50.)
When I teach fiction, I stress characterization, setting and how to do a powerful description of objects in your fiction. The software validates this approach, with an entire segment devoted to asking you questions about objects, setting and your characters, for example, prompting you for characters’ names, ages, looks, likes and dislikes and even the way they smell.
But what is really blowing me away is how the software helps with plot. You begin by assessing what genre your book fits into. The software asks you questions about your book (the closest thing I can relate it to is the tax software, where certain answers lead you down certain paths). When you’re finished with these questions, it takes you to a section that explains what the structure of your novel should look like. The dozen or so traditional stages of a book in your genre are outlined. Stage 1, for example, might be The Belief System of your Hero. The software explains the stage, and lets you type your story stage by stage directly into a word processing field.
I am now running my novel Earth through it, and it’s working like a chiropractic or spiritual alignment. I’m finding all of the elements are where they’re supposed to be (thank God), but that I need to be clearer about the intention or purpose of each element or stage. That clarity, which involves minor adjustments in order and wording, is blowing the work open.
Thumbs up for this software! www.artofstorytellingonline.com